Bass, bluegills biting as summer heat arrives

IRON MOUNTAIN — Summer fishing is off to a good start with bass and bluegill action leading the way.

“Bass fishing is still really good,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. Live bait seems to work best for smallmouths while largemouths are hitting topwater lures, he said.

The panfish bite is also good, especially bluegills, and even fly fishermen were having some luck.

Whisler said a 42-inch muskie was caught this week and walleye action is steady, including a handful of larger fish taken on leeches and crawlers. During the busy holiday week ahead he reminded, “Safety first.”

At Whispering Pines Outpost on M-95, John Grier has been getting good reports on crappies. “Overall, fishing is pretty good,” he said. “I’ve heard some good stories on nice-sized trout.”

Michigan fall turkey permit applications will be available throughout July, Grier noted.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said high water levels are causing problems in areas throughout the state. In northern Wisconsin, the town park and boating landing at Lake Hilbert in Goodman is closed until further notice due to high water.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers going out of the South Entry caught a good number of lake trout along with a few brown trout. Some good size fish were caught out of Baraga and in Huron Bay however those fishing Huron Bay had to put in a little more effort to get them.

Marquette: Lake trout fishing is starting to ramp up with most boats catching a few each trip and some getting limits. Salmon fishing slowed with only a few coming in each day but many boats are fishing deeper which could be why. Lake trout of all sizes were caught between the White Rocks and Granite Island in 130 to 200 feet and near Shot Point. The fish are scattered throughout the water column. Those fishing shallow in 50 feet or less caught Chinook, coho, steelhead and the odd lake trout.

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported fair catches. The best action was near the mouth of the Whitefish River when drifting or trolling a crawler harness in five to 12 feet. Many were too small, but a few limit catches were reported. Perch anglers had fair to good catch rates near the Day’s Rivers with a crawler or minnow in four to 14 feet. Smallmouth bass were caught on plastics in three to five feet near Garth Point and Strawberry Island. Fish were also caught under the brush at the mouth of the Escanaba River and near the large rocks in shallow waters of the Ford River.

Manistique: Very few salmon anglers have been out as most are waiting for the water to warm up. Several fly hatches have taken place creating bug lines for the steelhead.

Manistique River: Dredging operations have started from the U.S. 2 bridge to the mouth. Good numbers of largemouth bass were reported along the edge of the river. Alewife have started to enter the river which should bring the walleye back.

Detour: The Atlantic salmon bite slowed as anglers put in some long hours to catch a few.